Western honey bee

Apis mellifera

A western honeybee approaching the white flower. IUCN Red List endangerment category: Data deficient
  • Family
    True bees (Apidae)
  • Weight
    ♀ 11 - 14 mm, ♂ 15 - 18 mm, Königin 28 – 30 mm
  • Habitat
    Pollination, honey

Built-in central heating & air conditioning

Honey bees have developed techniques for keeping the temperature in the hive constantly at 35 °C. On cold days, heater bees generate heat by vibrating their wing muscles to keep the larvae warm. In hot weather, worker bees fan their wings at the nest entrance to keep the humidity constant and cool down the hive.

A Western honeybee in flight.

The language of dance

When a scout bee discovers the location of a food source she will fly home and tell her hive-mates the news by performing the waggle dance. She struts in a figure of eight, with instructions contained in the line between the two loops. The length and angle of the line tell the other bees the distance and direction of the flower patch, while intensity of the waggle indicates quality.

In recent decades, bee colonies are suddenly disappearing without a trace. The cause of this colony collapse disorder is not known yet.


Distribution map honeybee